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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Louisiana-Style Gumbo

2015-06-07 18.26.12

This dish is a labor of love. It’s a dish that took me a while to master. They say, Gumbo is a thick soup/stew that’s usually served over rice, jambalaya is a rice dish that contains the proteins and the vegetables. I’d say Gumbo is the Cajun version of a Paella.

For my Louisiana-Style Gumbo recipe, I’m leaving out the okra. I love okra but Steve is not a fan. If you’re adding the okra in and it’s not in season, use the frozen variety. Add the okra in towards the end. I’ll remind you when I get to that point.

There are many components to this dish but they compliment each other beautifully. Using the best ingredients you can find makes a difference in the finished dish. Let’s get started.

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Stuffing (2)

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Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 30 to 40 minutes (includes pre-cooking sausage, chicken, cleaning the shrimp, and dicing all the vegetables)
Cook Time: 1 hour 7 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 47 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven, 10-inch sauté pan with a tight-fitting lid, chef’s knife, 3 medium-size bowls, silicone whisk

Ingredients:
1 pound of Andouille sausage (6 links)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 2 1/2-inch dice
3/4 pound of medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil (1 tablespoon for sautéing the *holy trinity)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted
3/4 heaping cup of all-purpose flour
2 cups of celery, diced, including leafy tops
1/2 cup of green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup of sweet onion, diced
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons of Creole seasoning (1 tablespoon to season the chicken, 1/2 tablespoon to season the shrimp)
1 (15-ounce) can of fire-roasted tomatoes (substitute diced tomatoes)
1 teaspoon of ground thyme
2 bay leaves
5 1/2 cups of chicken stock, unsalted
1 (15-ounce) package of (cut-style) frozen okra, thawed (optional)
6 to 8 servings of Basmati rice, cooked
1/2 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped for garnish
1/4 cup of green onion tops, cut on the bias, for garnish

Directions:
Add the andouille sausage to a sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock to the pan. Place on a tight-fitting lid and bring the sausage links up to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

In the meantime dice the *holy trinity, onions, celery, and green bell peppers. Next is to mince the garlic for the dish. Transfer to a large platter and set aside.

Next, remove all the liquid from the pan, place the pan back over the heat allowing the sausage links to brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, transfer the links to a cutting board to cool down before slicing them on the bias. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

On a meat-safe board cut the chicken into 2-inch pieces. Season the chicken with 1 tablespoon of Creole seasoning, toss to coat. Using the same pan, over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the chicken to the hot pan, cook, flipping the pieces of chicken occasionally, allowing them to brown on all sides. This process takes about 15 minutes. Transfer the seared chicken to a bowl. Set aside.

Next, is to peel and devein the shrimp. This takes about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Season with 1/2 tablespoon of Creole seasoning. Set aside. The shrimp will be the last ingredient that gets added to this dish.

The *roux is a very important player for a great gumbo. This is where the labor of love for this dish comes in to play. A dark peanut butter color is what I’m looking for. This means going past the blonde stage (blonde in color) for a standard *roux.

In a non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt 6 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Using a silicone whisk, slowly add the flour, whisking continuously, until the butter/oil mixture absorbs the raw flour in a paste-like and smooth consistency. At this point, the *roux will start to bubble.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to whisk for 3 to 5 minutes the *roux will start turning light caramel in color. Switch to a rubber spatula. Scrape down all the sides and bottom of the pan. Again, continue to whisk,  you’re looking for the *roux to turn a dark peanut butter color, this may take anywhere from 7 to 10 minutes.

In a preheated Dutch oven over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the onions, ground thyme, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. After the onions start to soften, add the diced celery, green bell pepper, and minced garlic. Stirring occasionally cook for 5 to 7 minutes. At this point add the tomato paste, stir to combine. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

Using a spatula, transfer the *roux to the Dutch oven, stir to coat the vegetables. Add the andouille sausage, chicken, fire-roasted tomatoes with the juice, and 2 bay leaves, stir to combine.

Next for the liquid. Continue over medium heat, add chicken stock, stir to combine. Bring all this up to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer. Occasionally stirring, cook for 30 to 35 minutes. During the last five minutes of cooking, add the shrimp and thawed frozen okra. Cook for another 5 minutes.

At this point, the sauce will have thickened. Remove from the heat, cover to keep hot.

I like serving my Louisiana-Style Gumbo over Basmati. Right before serving, garnish with sliced green onion tops and Italian flat-leaf parsley.

*holy trinity:  The holy trinity of Cajun cooking consists of onions, bell peppers, and celery, the base for much of the cooking in the regional cuisines of Louisiana.

*Roux: a roux is a mixture of fat (especially butter) and flour used in making sauces.

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Pasta Carbonara Souffle

2015-05-01 17.06.16

2015-05-01 17.06.19

Eggs and bacon mixed with pasta that dates back for many years. At least that’s what I’ve been told. Making Pasta Carbonara into a casserole, even better. This is my Pasta Carbonara Souffle. Let’s get started.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 48 to 50 minutes
Total Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 3-quart baking dish (15″ x  9 1/2″ x  2 1/2 “high), 6-quart saucepot, 3-quart saucepot, colander, 10-inch sauté pan, large mixing bowl, hand-held electric mixer, Microplane.

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1/4 pound of pancetta, diced
1 pound (1 box) of Barilla Cellentani (corkscrew pasta) slightly undercooked, rinsed and cooled (substitute gluten-free pasta)
3 cups of whole milk, room temperature (substitute 2%)
1 cup of half and half, room temperature
1/2 a stick (4 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted, plus 3 tablespoons for the top (extra for greasing the baking dish)
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, (substitute gluten-free flour)
5 ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated (reserve 1/4 cup for topping)
4 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks
1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, freshly grated
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley plus 2 tablespoons for garnish, finely chopped
1 (8-ounce) package of the Italian blend shredded cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
First butter the bottom and sides of the baking dish.

Start with a small cold sauté pan add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and diced pancetta. Cook over medium heat allowing all the fat to render out and the pancetta to become crisp, around 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the crisp diced pancetta to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain any extra grease. Set aside.

Place 4 egg whites in a clean glass bowl. I’m looking for them to be nice and frothy. With the mixer on low, beat the whites until they become frothy but not quite to the soft peaks stage. At this point, add the cream of tartar. Continue beating the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

In a large pot over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter has melted add the flour (optional, gluten-free flour). Continuously whisking until the raw flour is cooked out and becomes blonde in color and paste-like forming a *roux.

In a 3-quart saucepot bring milk and half-and-half (*scald) up to temperature. Pour the hot milk mixture into the *roux all at once. Add 1 teaspoon each of Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking for 3 to 5 minutes, until thick. Double-check the thickness by dipping a wooden spoon into the sauce. Take your finger and make a line down the back of the spoon, if the sauce stays separated and doesn’t run together. Turn the heat off.

Remove the pot from the heat, then add the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley. Switch to a spatula, stir to combine. Next, gently *fold in the egg whites.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta one-minute shy of al dente according to the package instructions for about 8 minutes. The pasta will finish cooking during the baking process.

Drain the pasta into a large colander. Rinse the pasta under some cold water to stop the cooking process for just a minute before adding it into the casserole dish. Once the pasta is somewhat cooled, it’s time to put this together.

To assemble, add half the cooled pasta, then half of the cheesy souffle sauce. On top of that, sprinkle half of the cooked Pancetta. Repeat this process one more time. Now for the topping, add the finely shredded Italian cheese blend, a little more of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. *Dot the top all over with butter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until brown and bubbly. Do not open the oven for the first 20 minutes. You want the dish to rise beautifully like a souffle should.

Allow the dish to rest for 15 to 20 minutes to set.

*Dot is to place little pieces of butter on the top of a casserole dish or pie.

*Fold or folding is a very precise term in cooking and baking. It meat that you have to carefully combine two mixtures of different thickness and weight into one (relatively) smooth mixture. This is accomplished by a specific technique of using a spatula to lift the two mixtures together, turning them over so they combine.

*Roux is a mixture of fat (especially butter) and flour used in making sauces.

*Scald is milk heated to a near boil. Small bubbles will appear around the inner rim of the pot.

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Fresh Peach Cake With Pistachios

2015-01-29 18.30.40

Family and friends always ask me if it took me all day to make my Fresh Peach Cake With Pistachios. Truth is it doesn’t. I’ll show you how easy this dessert is to make.

The sweetness from the fresh peaches and that kiss of saltiness from the pistachios give this cake great flavor and texture. This cake is so moist you’re not going to believe it! I do have a secret ingredient and I’ll explain that in a minute.

I start with making the batter.

eggs

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Reserve the vanilla bean pod(s) for your granulated sugar. You’ll have vanilla-flavored sugar for future recipes.

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Fresh Peach Cake Topped With Pistachios

 

 

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 to 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: Stand Mixer, large mixing bowl, medium-size mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, offset spatula, 9 x 9-inch baking pan

Ingredients:
1/2 pound (2 sticks)of unsalted butter, room temperature, 1 for buttering pan
1 1/2 cups of vanilla-flavored granulated sugar (reserve 1/2 a cup for the cinnamon sugar mixture)
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
4 ounces sour cream, room temperature
4 ounces of ricotta cheese, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups of all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon of baking powder, sifted
1 teaspoon of baking soda, sifted
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, sifted
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup of pistachios, roughly chopped
garnish with powdered sugar or a dollop of fresh whipped cream

Directions:
Butter a 9 x 9-inch baking pan really well.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, start by adding the room temperature unsalted butter. With the mixer on low speed, add the sugar and turn the mixer up to medium speed for about 3 to 4 minutes until the butter is light and fluffy.

Next, reduce the speed to low, add the vanilla and two-room temperature eggs, one at a time. Let that mix together for a minute before adding the room temperature sour cream. To that add, my secret ingredient, the ricotta cheese. Let that all combine. Turn the mixer off scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding the dry ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and Kosher salt. Turn the mixer back to low speed and slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet until just combined, turn the mixer off. You don’t want to over mix the ingredients once the dry has been added to the wet. Remove the paddle attachment and scrape as much batter off the paddle as possible. You want all that delicious batter for the cake.

Next, I’ve peeled, cored and then sliced five peaches in a medium-size bowl. In a small bowl add the ground cinnamon and sugar, whisk to combine.

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F.

Add half the batter to the bottom of the greased baking pan. Using an offset spatula, spread the batter out evenly on the bottom of the pan.

Arrange half of the sliced peaches into the batter, sprinkle them with a dusting of the cinnamon sugar. Next, add the remaining half of the batter and spread that over the sliced peaches. Arrange the rest of the sliced peaches, pressing them gently down slightly into the batter. Once more with the rest of the cinnamon sugar, really sprinkling it all over every part of the cake.

Finally, sprinkle the top of the peach cake with chopped pistachios. Transfer the cake to the refrigerator for 15 minutes to rest.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, if a toothpick comes out clean, the cake is ready. Allow the cake to cool completely before cutting.

Serve my Fresh Peach Cake With Pistachios warm or at room temperature. Maybe with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, or a dusting of powdered sugar, YUM!

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